ra·​ga | \ ˈrä-gə How to pronounce raga (audio) \

Definition of raga

1 : one of the ancient traditional melodic patterns or modes in Indian music
2 : an improvisation based on a traditional raga — compare tala entry 1

Examples of raga in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The raga and rock elements that made their earlier releases so psychedelic remain but with layers of poetry from their fellow downtown artist Jack Walls and audio from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 21 June 2018 What raga is to South Asian music — a system of melodic patterns that also serve broadly as a guide — maqam roughly is to Arab, Turkish and Persian music. New York Times, "14 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in NYC This Weekend," 19 Apr. 2018 While there’s no missing elements of maqam, free jazz, Turkish melody, Indian raga and more, the 80-minute suite’s achievement is building an epic journey that makes each ingredient far less meaningful than the sweeping whole. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Oak Park native Amir ElSaffar moves beyond cross-cultural hybrids with Rivers of Sound," 1 Feb. 2018 There’s a meditative quality to the songs, which mix elements including raga, Americana and jazz. Aaron Carnes, sacbee, "This partnership fuses Sanskrit and jazz as it seeks a universal peace | The Sacramento Bee," 13 Apr. 2018 The afternoon concert captured here—the first time anyone had performed these two ragas in Paris at the appropriate time of day—makes an effective showcase for his microtonal precision, ingenious phrasing, and penetrating timbre. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Ensemble dal Niente pianist Mabel Kwan on a playful post-smartphone look at David," 10 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'raga.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of raga

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for raga

Sanskrit rāga, literally, color, tone; akin to Sanskrit rajyati it reddens, Greek rhezein to dye

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about raga

Statistics for raga

Cite this Entry

“Raga.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raga. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on raga

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about raga

Comments on raga

What made you want to look up raga? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!